ARTIST: Psychic TV
ALBUM: Mr. Alien Brain vs. the Skinwalkers
LABEL: Cargo Records
REVIEWER: Matthew J.
Mostly recorded during a single session for Philadelphia radio station WXPN, this release captures the newest incarnation of Psychic TV at their most vital, possessed of a raw energy and enthusiasm that goes hand in hand with band founder Genesis Breyer P-Orridge's return to the low-fi experimentation and driving energy of psychedelic rock. That manifests itself in all sorts of ways, from covers of Syd Barrett's "No Good Trying" and The Velvet Underground's "Foggy Notion" to a re-imagining of their own classic "Papal Breakdance," now transformed from a sample-heavy electro track to a psychedelic rock love song, complete with jangly guitars and upbeat lyrics. "Trussed" is heavier and more intense, with slow overdriven chords rumbling under organ moans while Breyer P-Orridge wails intently, and "Pickles and Jam," despite a title that would be perfect for a crazy improvisational session, is full of understated melancholy, with a bass guitar that's warm but sad. There are also a couple of tender, though strange, interludes featuring recordings of Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge (Genesis' Other Half), who passed away last year; "I Am Making a Mirror" sets a recitation of her poetry panning back and forth across the stereo channels over spaced out guitars, and "I Love You, I Know" is a collage crafted out of various loops and samples of Lady Jaye herself. Also noteworthy is a remix by The Angels of Light's Michael Gira of "New York Story," a lovely ballad that appeared on Psychic TV's last album; Gira's take is as beautifully tender as the original while adding an emphasis on organs over guitars and featuring some interesting vocal production. As an added bonus, this release also comes with a DVD of backstage and tour footage edited by French filmmaker Marie Loisier, who is currently working on a full-length documentary of Genesis and Lady Jaye's life and art. Set to many of the songs that appear on the album itself, Loisier's footage captures the intimacy of the Psychic TV family working in the studio and hanging out together backstage, and makes this release a must-have for fans of the band.
Visit www.genesisp-orridge.com for more information about this release, Psychic TV, and the work of Geneis Breyer P-Orridge.
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